Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

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Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:18 am

It's been awhile since I posted anything, but I've finally started working in earnest on my second build, another DC Les Paul type with a few differences from my first. The first had figured back and sides with binding and purfling, while this one is more traditional with a mahogany (sapele) back and a deeper carved maple top. So I actually glued the top on this thing last summer and well, it's been awhile and I guess I forget that I had talked my friend who I'm building this for into letting me put a small chamber in this thing to shave a little weight off of it as the Sapele is a little heavier than real mahogany, which by itself isn't a problem but combine that with his desire to have me do a belly cut on the body and my poor memory and you can see where I'm going...

Image

So now I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I could continue sculpting this and go right through and possibly place a veneer over the hole, which will be much worse at that point. I could try and stabilize the defect further, (I dropped some super glue in there just to make sure it was a little stronger than it looked) and try to touch it up with paint/filler, but I know I won't be able to replicate the chatoyance of the wood itself. Or else I could...?

I was really kind of liking the rough carved look that it has going right now too, although now that I have this little artifact from my forstner bit poking through I may have to save that for another guitar. Anyways, if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears...
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Paul Rhoney » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:51 am

Is the back getting binding? Bind the belly cut. Scott Walker did that on one of his, in tortoise shell, it looked incredible.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Adam Savage » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:07 am

I dont know if it would work, but what about a drop-top style 'cover' for the whole back (you could bookmatch a couple of pieces of sapele to keep the colour/grain match)? It might mean making the belly cut less flowing and more of a flat cut. It would also add a little weight, but would cover the defect quite well, and add strength to the rest of the chambered section that might also be a little weaker due to the carve?

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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Mark Swanson » Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:40 am

It passes me by how binding would help that.

To follow Adam, you could just put a veneer on the belly cut part and not on the whole back. Use a contrasting cut and it might look cool. If you use a veneer that tries to match and hide that, it'll just look like you tried to hide a mistake, but a contrasting piece will make it look intentional and maybe pretty nice if done well.
Any patching of that will pop right out at you.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby G.S. Monroe » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:21 am

I take those little incidents as opportunities for decorative inlays, and like Mark suggested, a contrasting laminate (cut as a nice silhouette
?)
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Catto » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:35 am

I don't have a photo handy but I think when Scott did it he inlaid an inlay line (matching body binding) around the curve of the veneered body cutout. Like a pinstripe is probably the best description.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:57 am

I was kind of leaning towards veneering the whole section, possibly with quilted maple to match the top. I'm thinking it should be fairly thick as I'm sure to have a complete hole by the time I'm done smoothing this out. Don't know if I'm up to binding it yet, as that's certainly trickier than overlaying a veneer and trimming it back. I suppose I could make a template out of card stock first, lay my binding out and cut the veneer to fit inside that binding line. Then glue on the veneer first leaving a binding ledge all around it?

At any rate, this will probably call for pre-bending the veneer no? Seems like I'll have to if I want it to be +/- 1/8".

Another option I found was a Verde Copper, copper sheet laminate which might be cool because it has green accents and the maple top will be green. I'm reluctant to use another type of wood that won't be anywhere else on the guitar, so Sapele and maple are ok and possibly Ziricote if I make the fret board out of that but it will be more expensive and difficult to get my hands on a piece wide enough to patch this.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Greg Robinson » Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:34 am

John, you could still use thin veneer, just patch the hole with something first, which will be ugly, but then you're covering it up, so what does it matter? Then you can just use 1/16" veneer or whatever, and not need to pre-bend it or make things complicated.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Mario Proulx » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:43 am

Yup, agree with the others. Cut-out a larger section around the spot where you broke-through and patch it with a solid piece of wood, then continue carving. When you're done, attach a contrasting veneer into the belly-cut section. Vacuum clamping would work perfectly, but if the veneer conforms to the area nicely, a sandbag might work well, too. I'd go for a normal veneer(1/24" or 1/40"), not a 1/16" thick one. Might need a purfling line to really make it look slick, but may not. Look at how we do carved armrests on acoustic guitars; same idea.

When done, it'll look great, and it'll look like you meant to do it....
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Mark Swanson » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:57 am

Maybe you could bind the body with a matching wood to the veneer?
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:57 pm

picked up some nice quilted maple veneer at the candy store yesterday and I know I guy down the road from my shop who does vacuum clamping so I'm going to give him a ring this week. The veneers are a little dry and crispy so I'm thinking about picking up some super soft 2 online or something called Wood Tamer which is available at the local high end wood store but I couldn't find any reviews.

I think the toughest part is going to be doing the patch on a curved section, I've never done that before. I do have a jig to use with my laminate router to reference it off of the flat part of the back so it's not the cut I'm worried about but how I will outline or scribe a piece of wood onto the curved part before I make the cut. Alternatively I could try and make as straight as possible and whittle away at my plug to get it to fit in, setting it in place with some epoxy to fill any gaps?

Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'll keep posting when I get some progress. Of course any suggestions are more than welcome!
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Mario Proulx » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:17 pm

Make a round patch, maybe?
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:37 pm

Mario Proulx wrote:Make a round patch, maybe?



yes! And use a forstner bit big enough to cut out the around the hole now! Then I can whip out my circle cutter for my dremel and make an exact plug. Thanks Mario, I got locked into thinking about it one way and hadn't thought of that!
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Chris Richards » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:49 am

Hi

Regarding the plug, I think I would almost finish carving the belly cut down to sanding distance of the finish then drill the hole for the plug, make the plug slightly tapered (with the grain on the end of the plug the right direction). With the plug being tapered you can press it in really tight so hopefully the joint will be hardly noticeable. Never done it but just a thought!
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:10 pm

Here's an update:

I talked to a local guy who's got a vacuum press setup at his shop about helping me out with the veneering, he said he'd do it for ten bucks. There's no way I'm not gonna bite on that so I was just left coming up with a way to patch my hole. It turned out it was a little bigger and oddly shaped than I really had a forstner bit for so that plan went out the window. I decided to make a plug out of a piece of scrap cherry, I wanted something fairly soft and light but not too soft and light. I have to say though that this is probably the toughest patch I've ever done in my 17 years of wood working, nevertheless I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Here are some pics:

Image

Image

Image

Image

and here's the jig I used, it's basically just an offset carriage so that I can rout in curved areas while referencing off of a flat surface.

Image

Just took some patience and working my way up to the outline of the plug, plus just a little sanding block action and I got a nice, tight fit. Plenty of squeezeout from the yellow glue that I mainly used, and where I didn't get any I added in a little thick super glue. So now I'll wait until tomorrow and look to carve it back flush with the rest of the belly cut and I should be set. Thanks for all the help guys, you saved my butt again!
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Art Davila » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:26 pm

Please post the results I think it going to work out great.
I have a lot of experience on how "not" to do things.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Mario Proulx » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:48 am

Most definitely! We want to see how it all turns out.

Well done on the patch, BTW!
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:34 pm

Thanks for the compliment Mario! I'm taking it in on Tuesday so hopefully I'll have it back by the end of the week, and I'll be sure to post pics.
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby Eric Baack » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:09 pm

Looking forward to seeing the results!
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Re: Dumb mistake carving, looking for fix ideas

Postby John Sonksen » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:20 pm

Thought I'd mention something else. I was trying to get a nice, smooth contour with a gradual bowl shaped bottom and a sharp edge at the outside and the main part of the guitar body, but I was really struggling with sanding blocks, loose sandpaper and my carving gouge. That's when I remembered my Caruth ultimate scraper. I bought that awhile back and hadn't really used it too much, so after some digging around I went at the cutout with it. It was the perfect tool for the job, really made quick work of things and helped me get a nice sharp profile on the edge all the way around. Now I'm not worried about the veneer rolling over an edge or having an odd bump in it. Here's a pic:

Image

Once I get it back from getting veneered I'm going to have to decide if I want to put a round over on the back edge or just ease it. I think sharp may look better but be a little less durable and maybe a little less comfortable.
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